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The treatment of moyamoya disease (MMD) is controversial and often depends on the doctor's experience. In addition, the choice of surgical procedure to treat MMD can differ in many ways. In this study, we performed a meta-analysis to determine whether surgical treatment of MMD is superior to conservative treatment and to provide evidence for the selection of an appropriate surgical treatment.The human case–control studies regarding the association of MMD treatment were systematically identified through online databases (PubMed, Web of Science, Elsevier Science Direct, and Springer Link). Inclusion and exclusion criteria were defined for the eligible studies. The fixed-effects model was performed when homogeneity was indicated. Alternatively, the random-effects model was utilized.This meta-analysis included 16 studies. Surgical treatment significantly reduced the risk of stroke (odds ratio (OR) of 0.17, 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.12–0.26, P < 0.01). A subgroup analysis showed that surgical treatment was more beneficial to hemorrhagic MMD (OR of 0.23, 95% CI, 0.15–0.38, P < 0.01), but there was no significant difference between surgical treatment and conservative treatment on ischemic MMD treatment (OR of 0.45, 95% CI, 0.15–1.29, P = 0.14). Further analysis indicated that compared to direct bypass surgery, indirect bypass surgery had a lower efficacy on secondary stroke risk reduction (OR of 1.79, 95% CI, 1.14–2.82, P = 0.01), while no significant difference was detected for perioperative complications.Surgery is an effective treatment for symptomatic MMD patients, and direct bypass surgery may bring more benefits for these patients.